Percy, Dick, Willy - well, we all know what I’m talking about. But why not Bertie, Billy, Charlie, or Clive; and whatever happened to Peter Pizzel? Peter Pizzel, or PeePee (PP) as some call him, was one of Shakespeare’s favourite terms for a Todger - and thinking about it just how did Todger come about? Could it be cockney rhyming slang?
And just who was John Thomas?
And just who was John Thomas?
Apparently there are 174 ways to call a Pecker something other than a penis includong (whoops, excuse the spelling error) Knob, Old Fellow, Tallywhacker, and Winkie – which is probably derived from the nursery rhyme Wee Willy Winkie who wandered upstairs and downstairs in his dressing gown and ended up in his ladies chamber (whatever that is).
Ned Ward, the original hack, first termed the name Roger for the One-Eyed Trouser Snake in a ribald piece of poetry in the early 1700’s. This was the first of a number of men’s names to be bestowed on that particular part of the male anatomy in recent times - Thomas followed in 1811, Dick in 1891, Peter (or rather the return of) in 1902, Willie in 1905, and Free Willie (to much hilarity) after the release of the film in 1993.
To an extent the use of these names came about simply because they were names that were considered typically male, the kind of name that Joe Blow, John Doe, or even any Tom, Dick or Harry might have. Peter, however, had been around for a long time; even longer that Willy Shakespeare’s Pizzel (get it?). Peter derives from the Greek petros, meaning stone, a material whose hardness probably gives you a clue as to why it was chosen. By the way the term Pecker gave rise to the term Woody. I had a great paragraph finish here, but try as I might I can’t work out how to spell the onomatopoeic noise that Woody Woodpecker makes.
John Thomas, as a penile pseudonym, became popular when D.H. Lawrence’s fictional gamekeeper, Mellors, referred to his Slippery Salmon as such in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The original version of the novel, an alternate, was actually called ‘John Thomas and Lady Jane’. Lady Chatterley’s lover caused a scandal at the time, making a fortune for Penguin Books when they published in the early sixties and giving rise to the term to Punish the Penguin.
In Spanish-speaking countries the Sultan’s Sausage is often called a Pedro, in
Luigi, in Germany an Adolph,
in Scotland a Jock (maybe
after the strap) and in parts of Romania a Vlad (after Vlad the
Impaler, the real life model for Dracula - so sink your teeth into that). In
recent times the surname Johnson has become a very popular term in America and one
can only assume that its popularity is due to President Linden B. who was a
Of course many men (or their girlfriends) name their own appendages. I once knew a chap from
who called his Dai because, as he was constantly telling the girls in the
student’s union bar, his Man Spanner was to ‘die’ for. I’m pretty sure,
following the Johnson theme, that the Prime Minister’s wife calls his Doormouse
a Dave, his deputy’s wife calls her husband’s Polecat a Clegger, and numerous
ladies call the other political Johnson’s Crumhorn a Boris.
And it’s not only the Filly Fudge Stick that comes in for the men’s name thing. In an associated context, we all need occasionally to go for a Jimmy Riddle in the John, and best (if you are single at least) not to go out without a Johnny. The term Donger is named after the clap inside a bell and unfortunately led to Clap becoming a slang term for venereal disease.
I have no idea where Kitty, Fanny, Tuppence, or Lady Jane comes into it though.